There’s no official rulebook explaining how much you should tip workers. And when you’re constantly moving through the motions of life, you might forget to hand off a dollar or two. But as we get older, tipping too low, or not at all, is an etiquette mistake that’s not easily forgiven.
According to a 2018 study completed by Glassdoor analyzing minimum wage laws and the average salary of service workers, the minimum wage for tipped workers can range from as low as $2.23 in Delaware to as high as $7.50 in Arizona and New York. And in 2017, more than 55% of food service workers recorded a wage at or below the state minimum wage for non-tipped workers. According to the survey, in certain states where the minimum wage has risen, tips have fallen.
Avoid undertipping and breaking etiquette rules by following our tipping guideline the next time you find yourself lost on how much you should give.
To determine the right amount to tip a waiter, bartender, barista and more, we reached out to Daniel Senning, an author at The Emily Post Institute. The Emily Post Institute is an etiquette organization that has been around for more than 70 years.
Waiters should be tipped 15% to 20%, pre-tax. That means if your bill comes out to $20 before tax, you should leave a minimum of $3 behind. And if a host or maitre d’ goes the extra mile to get you a table on a busy day, it’s customary to tip $10 to $20. There are plenty of things people do that annoy waiters, don’t add to the list by not tipping enough.
If you’re just picking up dinner from your local Chinese restaurant, leaving a tip isn’t a necessity, but if the goods are being delivered to your car or the order is large or complicated, a 10% tip is suggested.
Tipping delivery drivers can get a bit tricky and it mainly depends on the order. But the Emily Post Institute suggests tipping 10% to 15% of the bill. And if you’re ordering from one of the best pizza spots in town, it’s recommended you tip the driver $2 to $5 depending on the size of the order. If your delivery driver is traveling through challenging weather conditions, like a winter storm or thunderstorm, give them a few extra dollars for their troubles.
There’s no obligation to tip your barista, but if they’re regularly serving you the best coffee you’ve ever had or adding additional ingredients free of charge, leaving a little cash behind is the polite thing to do.
Hairstylists work hard to give you your desired haircut or new hair color. And even though some hairstylists might charge a hefty fee, they should still be tipped for a job well done. The Emily Post Institute recommends tipping 15% to 20% split among those who served you.
At hotels and bars, there might be a person attentively waiting to offer you soap, a towel and, sometimes, a mint on your way out the door. Although you might be used to giving these workers a polite “thank you,” and heading out the door, The Emily Post Institute suggests tipping as a general etiquette rule. Restroom attendants should be tipped 50 cents to $3, depending on the level of service.
Whether you’re staying in a luxurious hotel or not, you should always tip hotel workers who accommodate you every step of the way. Tip the bellhop $2 for the first bag, $1 per additional bag and $2 to $3 for each additional service, like room delivery. Roomkeepers should also be tipped $2 to $5 per day. And don’t forget to leave a “thank you” note behind so workers know you’re especially grateful for their efforts. It might not seem like a lot, but neglecting to say “thanks” is one of the worst etiquette mistakes you can make.
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